Muhammad Ali's hometown of Louisville will honor the former boxing champion on Friday with a solemn procession through the Kentucky city and public funeral at a sports arena, a tribute befitting a local hero who achieved global stature as a humanitarian.
Ali, one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century whose death brought accolades from around the world, will feature eulogies by former President Bill Clinton, broadcaster Bryant Gumbel and comedian Billy Crystal, a family spokesman, Bob Gunnell, said on Saturday.
The body of the former prize fighter, who died in Arizona after suffering for decades from Parkinson's syndrome, was expected to be returned within the next two days to Louisville, where flags were lowered at city hall on Saturday in his honor.
Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr in Louisville, in western Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 1942, and was known as the "Louisville Lip" early in his boxing career because of his playfully boastful nature.
Fans gathered on Saturday at his modest childhood home on Grand Avenue, which has been converted to a museum, and at the Muhammad Ali Center, a cultural and educational venue, to pay their respects.
Friday's events were expected to begin with a private prayer service for family members at a funeral home in Louisville.